x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

UAE cricketer Shaiman Anwar happy to repay coach's faith

After successful summer amassing 475 runs in six List A matches, batsman looks forward to upcoming series against Namibia. Amith Passela reports.

UAE batsman Shaiman Anwar plays a shot against Canada during the one-day international at the Maple Leaf Cricket club in King City, Ontario, Canada. Chris Young for The National
UAE batsman Shaiman Anwar plays a shot against Canada during the one-day international at the Maple Leaf Cricket club in King City, Ontario, Canada. Chris Young for The National
After a glorious summer amassing 475 runs in six List A matches, Shaiman Anwar is looking forward to the upcoming series against Namibia and the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in September and November in the UAE.

The diminutive batsman scored 102 not out and 57 to win both the 50-over-a-side matches against Canada in the World Cricket League (WCL) at the start of the month.

He followed that up with knocks of 119 not out, 53, 100, and 44 that helped the UAE reach the last-four stage in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup at the Kallang grounds in Singapore last week.

"I am glad I was able to contribute to the team in the two tours, but it is more important to take this momentum forward as we have some very important fixtures coming up," Anwar said.

"I was in good form and made great use of it. The coach and captain decided to promote me as an opener and I'm very happy that I produced good results for them and help my team reach the semi-finals."

The UAE will play Namibia in the Intercontinental Cup and the WCL in a home series next month and play host to the World T20 Qualifier in November - when six of the 16 teams will earn a spot at the 2014 World T20.

"It is important for the team to win, because good results mean it adds more value to the individual performances," he said. "I wasn't alone, though. I had excellent support from my teammates.

"The bowlers, particularly the spinners, did a great job for us in the victories over Singapore and Bangladesh U23. We also competed well against Sri Lanka and India, so it was a satisfying result overall."

Nasir Aziz, the off-spinner, returned with a 17-wicket haul in four games, including match bags of five wickets against Bangladesh Under 23 and an India development team.

Ahmed Raza, the captain, was all praise for Anwar and Aziz for topping the UAE's charts in batting and bowling, and for the entire team for their achievement.

"It was a very good experience," he said. "We played amazing cricket over the week, defeating a Test-playing nation. I'm really proud of my team.

"To be honest, not many people expected us to reach the semi-finals but our coach, Aaqib Javed, had prepared us so well mentally that we wanted to make upset after upset.

"We were in a position to make another huge upset [against India U23 in the semi-final] but things didn't go our way. However, these games will definitely help us in our World Cup qualifier matches. I'm sure we will do well there."

The top two teams in the WCL earn an automatic qualification to the 2015 World Cup. Ireland have already secured first place while the UAE are battling with Scotland, Holland and Afghanistan for the remaining spot.

The remaining six teams have a second chance to qualify at next year's ICC World Cup qualifier in New Zealand, when they face Hong Kong, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Uganda for the final two spots in Australia.

apassela@thenational.ae

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